Miners threaten Congo with legal action over mining code
By Aaron Ross
DAKAR, May 30 (Reuters) – International mining companies operating in Democratic Republic of Congo will resort to legal action if their concerns over a new mining code signed into law in March are not addressed, they said in a letter to the mines minister this week.
The letter, reviewed by Reuters, was dated May 28 and copied to President Joseph Kabila. The companies, including Randgold and Glencore, wrote they had not received a response to 13 separate official correspondences to the government about the code.
"If the questions that we have raised and repeated on numerous occasions are not dealt with in accordance with our agreements, we will find ourselves forced to resort to judicial means to protect our rights," the companies said.
Regulations to implement the new code are due to be signed into law next week. The government has shown no sign of bowing to industry demands that it respect 10-year protections for existing projects against changes to the fiscal regime, or scrap plans to institute a windfall profits tax.
Mines Minister Martin Kabwelulu could not be immediately reached for comment. Randgold, which is representing the seven signatories of the letter, declined to comment.
Besides Randgold and Glencore, AngloGold Ashanti, Ivanhoe, China Molybdenum, Zijin and MMG signed the letter.
(Additional reporting by Zandi Shabalala Editing by Tim Cocks)